Spotlight on accessible transportation

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Broadening of streets and pavements, segregation of traffic, making grade crossing safer, professional training for traffic engineers and formation of street management departments in urban areas were some of the important suggestions made by Indian and international experts at the First National Conference on Accessible Transportation organised by Samarthya and Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme of IIT Delhi here over the weekend.

The conference sought to bring the government service providers, stakeholders and user groups on one platform to address the concern of senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Five international experts also addressed the conference. Of them Ling Suen of the International Centre for Accessible Transportation, Canada recommended enactment of a National Transportation Act in India like that in Canada besides a complaint resolution mechanism and redress system to make the roads, buildings and other public places more accessible to the elderly and the disabled. Various recommendations and queries by the user group and experts on accessibility were put forward during the conference and there was a broad consensus over the need for revision of standards, strict enforcement of law, maintenance of a barrier-free environment for disabled people, portable ramps at platforms and accessible public toilets to have ``mobility for all''. TRIPP coordinator Dinesh Mohan said ``mobility for all means mobility for all, not for few''. He said Delhi was moving ahead in the field of a barrier-free environment and the first disabled-friendly bus shelter due to be inaugurated on Sunday is a step in that direction but there is still a lot which needs to be done.

Sanjeev Sachdeva of Samarthya said, "Special access for special people segregates but universal design integrates''.

The speakers insisted that international accessibility symbols should be used and made known so that people in all parts of the country are able to identify with them.